The old days of just creating a resume are gone. Today, the majority of recruiters or hiring managers simply won’t notice a resume without searchable keywords. Let’s look at the types of keywords and how they can help improve your resume to land your next job.
Keywords are a short phrase or individual words on a resume that tie into a particular job posting. They can include credentials, skills, qualities and abilities of a candidate. They could include technical expertise or other requirements hiring managers are looking for in a role they’re trying to fill.
Keywords are important for tracking purposes. Most companies now use applicant tracking systems (ATS). This technology is widely used to track resumes and screen candidates for jobs. The software has a query system so hiring teams can search for candidates by job skills. The ATS software can eliminate candidate resumes that don’t have keywords matching the particular job description. That’s exactly why it’s important to add keywords into both your resume and your cover letter.
What Kinds of Resume Keywords Are There?
The job of keywords is to get the attention of hiring managers because it matches the job description. Given that most recruiters and hiring teams simply scan resumes for relevant experience, having keywords makes your resume stand out against all other candidates. Here are some examples.
For an employee benefits manager role, use keywords such as:
- healthcare benefits; and
- benefits policy.
For a customer service manager position, try to use keywords like:
- customer service;
- computer skills;
- order entry; and
- phone skills.
For a logistics manager:
- supply chain;
- operations; and
- logistics manager.
How do you figure out how to use these keywords? Look at the ad. It should have keywords throughout it you can incorporate into your resume. Try searching for similar job listings to find out what top words seem to be used in most of them. Especially look at the responsibilities/qualifications sections of the job description.
You may want to also look at the company website for keywords. Look at the section called “About Us” to determine what the company thinks is important. For example, if the company uses the word “creative,” clone that adjective and pop it in your resume. Make sure the language of your resume is the one spoken by the company — use keywords whenever possible.
Yes, you should do this for each job application. We know it’s labor intensive, but it will increase your chances of landing a job. Salt these keywords throughout the resume and mix up both hard and soft skills. A variety of keywords in several different places will show the diversity of your experience. Since the company’s ATS may be queued to find particular characteristics, try using multiple versions of keywords and phrases. For example, programmer and developer or nurse and clinician are interchangeable job titles that can mean the same thing.
Finally, consider using some of the same keywords in your cover letter, in case the employer is also scanning these types of documents. An easy way to do this is to list your keyword-heavy job skills in a summary at the beginning of the letter in a bulleted format.
Contact the Top Stack team for more career advice and, when you’re ready, we have the best jobs to fit your skills.